Southside Baptist Church gives thousands of free clothing items

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – The first months of school can be an exciting, but challenging time for families. Kids are off to class soaking in a wealth of new knowledge, but the season can be draining for families trying to afford the new clothes for the year.

So, Southside Baptist Church is returning again this year to do something about it.

The church hosted its annual clothing giveaway Saturday between 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., so anyone could walk in their doors and browse a wide array of gently used clothes free of charge. For years, members of the church have been hosting the event around the start of the school year because they want to make sure families can take advantage of the program when it’s needed most.

“Kids are growing and they’re realizing it when they’re sending them to school,” Pastor Ryan Livingston said. “They’re like oh no, we don’t have anything that fits them anymore.”

Unfortunately, those woes are increasing tenfold in 2022. Inflation has been pushing families to a breaking point all year, so the donations are going even further than usual this year.

Victoria Moss, who spent part of her morning swiping through a rack of baby clothes, understands this all too well. She stopped by the church to pick up a handful of outfits for her 9-year-old daughter, explaining to our cameras that it’s tough to raise a child as a single mother given how unforgiving the economy has been lately.

However, this weekend, she has good news. She showed us the tiny dresses in her shopping bag, all of them playing a small part in button up her budget.

“Probably about $30 right there,” she said, glancing at the outfits weighing their value. “It definitely makes a difference because babies grow really quickly.”

Southside Baptist Church knows there’s plenty more parents like Moss in the community who could benefit from donations. They’re grateful so many people have stepped forward to contribute thousands of clothing items, which stacked up throughout a deep room inside the church. Many of those items were brought in not just by members, but also from dry cleaning businesses getting rid of unclaimed shirts and the nonprofit Mothers Helping Mothers.

Combined, the efforts are patching up economic troubles, one stitch at a time.

Southside Baptist Church will host the second day of its giveaway Sunday between 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. If you’re not able to make it to that outing, church members will work with you to connect your family with donated clothes in their possession.